Enshrined, Chapter I

He awoke to voices. Opening his eyes, Teldryn found himself in blackness. He outstretched his arm only to find the gesture interrupted by a mass of smooth, hard material. Wood. Wood? “Why am I inside a wooden box?” he thought to himself. Pressing himself against it, he strained against the lid of his prison, but it was to no avail. The voices were there again; too muffled to understand. People? Teldryn ceased his fruitless efforts and instead began to knock against the lid as loudly as he could. “Hello? Is anyone there?” he called out. The voices went silent. A few seconds passed, Teldryn’s knocking not having stopped, for light to flood the coffin as the lid was torn off by two burly men armed with crowbars.

“What by the Holy bloody Heavens are you alive for?” blurted out one of the men, obviously surprised. “I was never dead you fool!” snarled Teldryn, “Who put me in here, and wh-… what day is it? How long have I been trapped in this stupid box?” “Only for a day or two,” said the burliest of the men. “You were found yesterday behind the village temple face-down in the dirt and bleeding from the eyes. Looked like you’d be nabbed by a mugger or something…” “Don’t be daft,” interrupted the least burly of the men, “this here elf is another bloody refugee, who obviously overdid the darkwart that he spent his stolen coin on. We’re better off nailing that lid back on the bloody coffin and shoving the bastard into the ground to rot if you ask me — maybe then he’ll stay dead.” The burliest man gave him an appalled look. “Now hold on a moment, that’s not very nice. You don’t know that, you’re just being nasty and you’re being judgemental! You’re a right idiot sometimes.” “By the Creator’s perky tits am I!” And with that, he gave his burlier friend a right-hook to the jaw the likes of which you’d never seen. “That’s it! You’re done now!” cried the burliest of the two now with a bloodied mouth. Teldryn may have been a degenerate pickpocket with a darkwart addiction, but he was not stupid. Seeing the opportunity, he quickly slipped out of the coffin and into an adjacent corridor, leaving the two men to deal with each other.

The catacombs were maze-like. Bodies, some freshly linened and others now dilapidated skeletons wearing rags, lined the walls in their tens of dozens. The only way in which Teldryn could navigate his way to the entrance was by checking on the ground for any offerings, corridor by corridor. The more offerings, the more likely the corridor was to be accessible, and thus the closer it was to people, and thus the outside. After what seemed like a hour of hurried walking alongside hundreds if not thousands of corpses, he saw the corridor he was presently exploring open up into a wide room. Stepping into the room and turning back, Teldryn saw that there were another twenty or thirty other corridors which led into the same room. “This must be the main chamber,” he said to himself, after which he looked upwards towards a huge statue of a gargoyle hanging from the ceiling. “Damn right.” he continued. His back now turned to the mass of corridors, he walked up several stone steps and into the entrance chamber, hurried passed a small crowd of mourners, and emerged into the daylight.

In contrast to the dark, dank catacombs, the city square Teldryn emerged into was verdant and gleaming with colour; the midday suns dominating the sky. In the center of the square stood a tall tree adorned with golden leaves, its bark a slightly greying dark blue similar to Teldryn’s skin. On the opposite side of the square to the catacombs sat a rabble of merchants haggling their wares to passers-by, the merchants themselves a strange race of snouted goblin-like creatures covered with silver piercings. And finally, to his right as Teldryn moved out of the catacombs and into the square, loomed a monolithic cathedral, white pillars thrust into the heavens, cyan and aqua-blue windows dotting the structure like jewels. “This doesn’t look like that little village by the coast,” Teldryn thought to himself.


5 thoughts on “Enshrined, Chapter I”

  1. Very nice, excellent pacing! I knew you’d have a knack for fiction. But now I’m curious what the heck “darkwart” is.

      1. You’re very welcome – I hope you continue the story, it was interested contrast to your rather grim poems.

        1. I don’t even know if “poem” is the right word, in all honesty; “stream of consciousness backtracked to imply something or other at the time” is a more apt description to some degree.

          Nevertheless, I will continue this story. I began it early last year and have re-written the first chapter or part four or five times. We’ll see if it concludes itself naturally. I made the mistake before of trying to plan-out the structure of the story, make maps of the world and design characters, but we’ll just go it ad lib this time around and let the story tell itself.

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